There are a number of spikards of note that have appeared so far in Forth the Nine Riders, Unicorn no Seishi, and TaMD?, becoming the focus of several quests and prophesies. While their true number is unknown, as well as the total range of functions they allow a sorceror to access, several groupings of spikards have come to light.
It is unknown how many Unicorn Spikards there are, or who made them, though 'six' and 'Fuyutsuki' are pretty safe bets in each case. They are tied strongly to the Patterns and the concepts of Elemental/Conceptual Order.
There are seven Dragon Spikards, possibly created by Anno, Keeper of the Logrus. New Chaos posseses it's own Dragon Spikards, but their identities and portfolios remain unknown, save for their Mind of the Dragon, held by High Priest Mavros. The Dragon Spikards of Old Chaos tap into the wildly chaotic nature of the Logrus, giving temporary definition to its random powers.
Half a century ago, Prince Beowulf helped the rulers of Arcadia forge seven Turtle Spikards. Like the Unicorn Spikards being limited to their own home universe, they only work in the Arcadiaverse, except under unusual circumstances (such as when active portals to other universes are open).
The creation of the first Phoenix Spikard came as an accidental side-effect of a cosmic ritual. Chloe of Rebma, the Crafter, created four more and remade the first, tying the five to Yig and the Phoenix. A hybrid of old and new, it remains to be seen how they will be used.
Created by some hostile force (Suspected to either be Annadil on his own, or under the influence of the Outsiders), these rings of power put one at risk of the control of the wielder of the Master Spikard which was linked to the Lion Spikards. Annadil used these spikards to control the minds of his pawns across Shadow during the Crisis -- their current wielders are unknown, though most have been destroyed or put under guard. With the Master Spikard now in ruins, the original Lion Spikards are being reforged by Anno, bound to Chaos to strengthen it in the wake of the Logruswrack.
Events have during the Herald Crisis made it clear that someone (or several someones) is attempting to craft new Lion spikards, possibly working from Annadil's old notes. They are even more dangerous than the original Lion Spikards, due to the direct use of Outsider Power in their forging.
There are quite possibly other spikards out there, but who made them or where they are is unknown.
Spikard History and Design
It is unclear who the first spikard or maker of spikards was. The original crafter would appear to have been Melkor in the time of the Sidar, who forged Gulya and likely the nine original Lion Spikards, or at least was responsible for their construction. It may also have been Annadil, working from Melkor's notes, although the lack of inherent Outsiderness argues against this.
Melkor's lore formed the basis for future Lion Spikard makers and for Anno, who forged the Dragon Spikards based on Melkor's design, replacing Gulya's role with the Logrus. Possibly Dios had a hand in this decision... Regardless, this proved a problem when Gulya surfaced to trouble the world once again, as it proved able to influence Melkor-model rings, even those not tied directly to it.
On the other side of the universe, Fuyutsuki took a different direction, studying numerous spikards from other universes and gleaning a workable model based off of them for the Unicorn Spikards. These proved immune to Gulya and had somewhat better security, not being based on a design that was MEANT to be compromised.
It is unclear what design Beowulf and the Jacquis based the Turtle Spikards off of, although a reasonable theory is that they simply took the Unicorn Spikard design and substituted Arcadia's Pattern for Amber's, given that the Unicorn model was both available and highly successful.
The Phoenix Spikards took advantage of having many examples to work from. Chloe captured a fairly complete copy of Melkor's Ring-Lore, and gained from it a good understanding of how they worked (and what not to do). She then followed Fuyutsuki's example and studied extra-universal spikards. Thus having gained the knowledge of how spikards might work, she was able to fill each step and part with a new design drawn from Wayland's lore, the craft-lore of Balance, and numerous other sources. The result reflected her own mindset; power was sacrificed for security.
Game Rules on Spikards
True Spikards (Master, Lion, Unicorn, Dragon, Turtle, Phoenix) may draw on different power sources, but typically have several things in common:
- No True Intellect -- True Spikards cannot make decisions on their own, although they can carry out certain kinds of commands unmonitored. You can command them to cast spells, but must tell them either to rack it at the start of the casting, or to cast it immediately at target whatever when it finishes. Unless you divert your mind to change the command, the spikard continues to do what you told it to do until it finishes. You cannot tell it to do X under condition Y. (Benji is the only known exception to this, though rumor has it that Gulya, the Master Spikard, has a mind too.) You can set a command queue, however. (Rack Spell A, Rack Spell B, Rack Spell C, etc.) You can abort the queue by direct intervention, or command it to abort a spell it is casting; aborting spells in mid-casting tends to get messy, though.
- Fast Spell Processing -- True Spikards draw power from shadow and from their Primal Power and build spells. If set to build and cast a spell all on its own, a True Spikard can build any spell that doesn't require Power Sorcery of some kind at the speed of Fast Casting (reduce difficulty of the spell one step to determine casting time). The spell will be backed by a fair amount of raw psychic power and a moderate amount of finesse.
- Rack, Cast, Maintain -- True Spikards can rack spells, cast them when commanded, and maintain them.
- Conveyed Sorcery Capacities -- A True Spikard can create Intelligent Spells and can create spells containing Advanced Power Sorcery, with the Power type determined by what power the spikard is linked to: Unicorn and Turtle Spells can create spells with Advanced Pattern Sorcery, etc. The Ring does not actually know that Power, however, so unless the user possesses the relevant power himself, all the Spikard can do is to charge up its spells with that power to give them more oomph. (It does so automatically, unless made to do otherwise. Commanding it to not charge its spells with its relevant primal weakens the power gain it grants.)
- Spell Racking -- True Spikards have a vast amount of storage capacity. Fifty points worth of spells can be stored on a Spikard.
- Enhance Caster Abilities -- Casters can use the Spikard themselves to cast spells. This boosts the psychic strength behind their spells as the ring draws power from shadow. They also can use Fast Casting, Intelligent Spells and Advanced Power Sorcery (of the Ring's type) while they wear it. (Although in the case of Advanced Power Sorcery, they can only imbue powers they actually possess into their spells.) Spells cast through the spikard by its wearer get the full benefit of his Psyche, and receive a further boost of psychic strength from the Spikard and the use of APS.
- Specialty -- The Spikard conveys radically enhanced spell-casting abilities in its area of specialty. Spells can be created and cast in the time it takes to release a racked spell. In effect, one gains a great deal of ability to mystically manipulate the area of specialty with only a small amount of effort.
- Spikard Linkages -- One can use one's Spikard for rapid transit across shadow by riding the lines of power it draws on for power and tapping the network which the Spikards of that type draw on. This can be used to communicate with other Spikard users of that type, and to teleport to the shadows you draw power from or to other Spikard users of that type, although other Spikard users will sense what you are doing and can refuse you passage if they choose, unless your Psyche is fairly superior to theirs. As of the creation of the first Balance Spikard, the formerly separate networks of Dragon and Unicorn have now been connected to each other.
- Unicorn / Turtle Spikards and Cross-Universal Travel -- Spikards cast spells by drawing power through their conduits to their power supply shadows. Dragon Spikards use the Logrus as part of their network (and Lion Spikards use the Void), and thus can reach into any universe touched by the Logrus (or the Void for Lion Spikards). It is yet unknown how Phoenix Spikards work between universes, but their maker believes that their lines of power would go down and they would react much like a Unicorn / Turtle Spikard. Unicorn and Turtle Spikards have the problem that their Patterns generally only exist in one universe at a time, and thus, when taken to other universes, their power conduits go dead. A Unicorn Spikard in Arcadia or a Turtle Spikard in Amber still has a magic processor, but no longer can draw magical energies to actually weave into spells. (It is dependent on its conduits to draw magical energies.) It also can't tap its Pattern to imbue APS into the spells. However, the spikard continues to function as a spell rack, even in other universes. It can be used to assist the caster, letting him build Intelligent Spells into his spells if he normally does not possess it. A sufficiently cunning sorceror who possessed a locally functional Primal Power and enough skill with it could reconfigure the spikard to tap into local magics, which would allow some spellcasting with the ring. (The ring would not significantly boost the power of any spells or imbue Advanced Pattern Sorcery and any spells it cast by itself would only be backed by a very weak psyche, but it would be able to cast spells very quickly, and you could still back the spells with your own Psyche.) You would need to reconfigure each time you crossed shadow boundaries, however.